- Thoughts from the Head
Welcome to the Learning Curve,
Learners understand the purpose of their learning and what success looks like.
Therefore we will ensure learning goals and examples of success are explicit and regularly referred to.
The second of our learning principles that I shared with you last week is about signposting. It’s long been known that we will engage with learning if we understand the purpose of it. In the classroom this means that students can “see the point” of what they're doing. This needs to be explicit and talked about. In addition, having a good model for what success looks like is incredibly helpful. This works for almost all learning. When beginning to practise how to parallel park our cars we have the very clear model of seeing what good (and bad looks) like. This model lets us see success and feel good when we achieve it. Conversely it allows us to ask the right questions when it goes wrong. All of us who have tried to parallel park know that feeling well. The same concept can be applied to almost all learning experiences.
There are some hidden dangers here too. I’ll share an anecdote that is illustrative. In UK education about 15 years ago it became “en vogue” to make all teachers write their learning objectives up on the board at the start of each lesson. The first task for students was to write these objectives in their books. The intention was very clear. Students write this down and then they know the purpose of the lesson. This was seen as so important that it became part of the school inspection framework used to make judgements on the quality of teaching in the country. In simple terms teachers had to do it!
Beware the law of unintended consequences.
A few years later I was at a school when a colleague of mine told me about an experience they had just had with their Year 8 French group. She invited them into the classroom and they all sat down, got their books out and started to copy the learning objectives from the board into their French writing books. The teacher looked utterly confused as they did so.
The reason for this confusion was that the learning objectives on the board were from the Year 11 maths class that had taken place in that classroom in the previous lesson before break.
The students had just become accustomed to going through this process and it had become utterly meaningless. So our Learning Principle is not about prescribing such procedures but rather challenging teachers to consider how to do this in engaging and interesting ways. One of the big mistakes linked to the example I have provided was that it presumed that this signposting had to be front loaded at the beginning of every lesson. It doesn't. The “reveal” can be very powerful as a surprise or sometimes even at the end of a lesson. The trick is to think carefully about what will have the most impact!
PTA Voluntary Contribution - Call for Projects
Hopefully you will have seen the call for projects in the PTA special edition newsletter this week. We have also repeated the information here. This is an exciting opportunity for you or your children to put forward school improvement and development proposals for funding. I urge you to get involved.
Following the wonderful “Journey” trips last year we are just finalising the details for 2024. We’ll be communicating these in the next two weeks.
I am so pleased to see our students in uniform. The campus feels great with them looking smart and part of one community. I’d like to thank all parents for helping make the start of the year successful.
From Monday the full policy comes into place so it is now very important that your children come to school dressed appropriately. This is about high expectations and consistency. Please see the information on the uniform page on the parent room for the full list of expectations. We really do not want to interrupt your Monday morning next week!
Have a lovely weekend everyone.
Head of School